Hospitality

71 Days to Christmas! Clean Out the Coat Closet

Brisk weather is on the way; time to clear out the coat closets!

Whether it's making space for family cold-weather gear or preparing for seasonal visitors, now's the time to clear out the coat closet. Does your outerwear storage space work for you?

Not that a designated "closet" is always the right solution! Many families prefer to keep coats, umbrellas, gloves and galoshes in open storage areas. Hang coats on pegs, tuck boots under a low bench, and consider an over-the-door shoe rack to corral little mittens, hats and scarves.

Check closet space from a guest's perspective, too. Are extra hangers available--and appropriate for heavy outer garments? Is there enough room to add a bulky parka without crushing a woman's wool coat?

Clear it out and be ready ... for Christmas!

73 Days to Christmas! Check the Linen Closet

Autumn's colder nights signal time for a seasonal bedding changeover. What's the state of your household's linen closet?

While in the linen closet, check stocks of sheets, towels, blankets and pillows with an eye to holiday needs. Will you be bedding down houseguests in an ill-matched set of "Spongebob meet the Little Mermaid" sheets this Christmas?

If new or replacement linens are on the shopping list, be alert for pre-holiday white sales and department store loss leaders. Warm flannel and fleece bedding can be spotted on sales flyers from now through New Years!

74 Days to Christmas! Check Bathroom Supplies

When a family member comes to the end of the toilet roll, it's no big deal--but when it's a guest? Embarassing!

Now's the time to make a quick check of the household's stock of bathroom supplies. Watch for sales on toilet paper, tissues, paper towels and soap. When the price is right, buy!

While you're at it, make a quick survey of the items your family will need during cough-and-cold season. Will you be able to weather a bout of the flu? Check supplies of over-the-counter medications and add any needed items to the seasonal shopping list.

You'll be ready for holiday guests--or the season's first sniffles--with a well-stocked bathroom.

87 Days to Christmas! Get Ready for Houseguests

Will your family host houseguests during the holidays this year?

Overnight visitors can be a lot of fun--but hosting houseguests can also be stressful. Will you have sheets, blankets, towels or bedspace to welcome visitors?

Check with family, friends and calendars now to prepare for holiday overnighters. With plenty of time to prepare, your family will be warm and gracious hosts.

Assemble A Pamper Basket

To get a reputation as the "hostess with the mostest", assemble a pamper basket for houseguests--a courtesy doubly appreciated in this day of air travel restrictions.

Throughout the year, collect sample sizes of toiletries and personal care supplies. Clearance sales and dollar stores are a great source for bath puffs and loofahs, scented soaps and bath oil, toothbrushes and travel kits. Returning from a trip? Unopened travel bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel find a good home in the pamper basket.

Stored in a basket, box or drawer in the guest room, the "pamper basket" supplies houseguests with any personal care item they may have forgotten or been forced to relinquish at security checkpoints.

An organized-home bonus: check the pamper basket whenever the household suddenly runs out of toothpaste or hand lotion. The travel-sized version will tide you over until shopping day!